By STEVE MASCORD
PAUL Green knowns all too well about the pitfalls of trying to regulate the movement of players between clubs,
“I got sacked at the Cowboys because they tried to say I was negotiating before June 30,” the current North Queensland coach tells League Week when we tell him we’re doing a story on the possibility of a transfer window in the NRL.
“It probably is a good idea because at least you can manage the fallout or whatever’s going to happen about it
“You’re never going to stop it (negotiations). It’s probably about making it as less-painful as you can for the fans and supporters.”
The idea that rugby league would ape others sports by limiting discussions between players and clubs has gained renewed currency in recent months following the decisions of Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran to sign contracts with rival clubs in 2016.
RLW understands the NRL raised the idea in discussions with the Rugby League Players Association a year ago but it went nowhere. The RLPA wouldn’t be surprised if it came up again.
But Green is a walking reminder of why we got rid of restrictions in the first place – they are nigh on impossible to enforce. He eventually won an out-of-court settlement from the cowboys over his sacking midway through 2000.
Nevertheless, Foran, who is going to Parramatta next year, favours a change,
“I’m the same as everyone else – I’m not a fan of ithe told Triple M in a recent interview.
“When you’re signing for another club and you’ve still got 26 rounds to go, I don’t think it’s good for the fans and I don’t think it’s good for the club.
“I don’t what the solution is but I think they’ve got to fix it,”
The argument against having the trade window at the end of the year is that it doesn’t leave players long to move their entire family to another city if necessary,
But Sydney Roosters centre Michael Jennings says: “I think at the end of the year when no teams are playing … I can just see itas a distraction to the clubs and the team and the fans during the season
“so I think the end of the year would be ideal for not just the fans but the player. They can get settled.
“When you’re playing a game, knowing you are going to another club the following year is a distraction.”
Others are willing to listen to argument s for and against a trade window.
“I’d have to have a good think about it,”says Cronulla’s Luke Lewis. “But I’m pretty open to anything that makes it better for players to work out their future, to work out what they’re going to do.
“If it’s going To benefit the players, I’m all for it,”
Team-mate Michael Ennis adds: “it’s hard for the fans, too, you know? They spend a lot of their hard-earned money to support teams.
“To support a team knowing the players aren’t going to be there in 12 months’ time – when things are done so early in the season – is hard for them.”
No-one thinks players will actually hold off deciding their futures until the end of the season – but there is a feeling everyone might be able to keep their mouths shut if the trade window was introduced.
Given that contracts cannot be registered until June 30 anyway, perhaps that is the best time for the trading period. Any arrangement reached before then isn’t legally binding anyway,
And it would give the game another media property to promote and leverage,
Of course, in the middle of all is is the idea that an internal draft would return – that would put paid to the need for any sort of formalised trading period because you’d just have to go where you are told.
Green concludes: “The guys that are involved, it’s part of the business now. You get your head around it and get on with it.
“But it’s the fans who probably hurt more than everyone else and can’t understanding it.
“So at least if there’s a trade window for a period, you kind of know it’s coming.
“You’re not going to stop it but when the information comes out, you can manage that better.
“If you’re going to have a transfer week, that’s when it’s all going to happen – even though it’s all really happened beforehand.
“And that’s probably the hardest thing for the fans to get their heads around.
“There’re not too many secrets in league, either, which makes it hard. But if everyone agrees on it, it’s probably a better look.”
Everyone agreeing on putting the game first? Hmmm….
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK